A Faulkner County couple has filed a lawsuit relating to what they claim is the illegal destruction of "priceless" family heirlooms in a property foreclosure.
Quincey McKinney, a Conway attorney with the firm McKinney and McKinney PLLC, prepared a complaint filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court in which it is claimed that when Waburn and Judy Brewer learned that their rural home at 291 White Oak Road (roughly between Enola and Rose Bud) was to be foreclosed and assigned to the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), they had arranged for a number of family heirlooms to be housed at a neighbor’s nearby storage building at 6 Ash Drive — a property owned by another person and not subject to the foreclosure.
These heirlooms included a World War II flight uniform, World War II medals, Judy Brewer’s wedding dress, family photographs and crafts made by the Brewers’ children, according to Judy Brewer.
When persons came to clean up the foreclosed property at some point before Sept. 7, 2009, the complaint claims, these people entered the nearby storage building as well and took and/or burned their belongings.
The storage building’s owner, Alan Shaver, said that some water skis and other outdoor equipment of his was stored inside the building, and this was taken or destroyed as well.
"It had some value to it, but it wasn’t nothing compared to (the Brewer’s)," Shaver said.
The Brewers found on Sept. 7, 2009, that the property had been removed, and contacted Jacksonville real estate firm Mason and Co. Realty LLC and a Fannie Mae representative to make them aware of the situation, according to the complaint. On Sept. 21, 2009, according to the complaint, the Brewers returned to Mr. Shaver’s shop in hopes of finding that their property had been returned.
"What they discovered instead was a large pile of ash and debris from what had obviously been a burn pile approximately 100 feet from the storage building," the complaint states. "... Though badly burned, they were able to identify numerous items of their personal property including glassware, melted picture albums, buttons from clothing, medals from World War II and many other of their belongings lying in the ashes."
Listed in the lawsuit as defendants are Fannie Mae, Mason and Co. Realty LLC. and "John Does 1-10," and it is these unknown "John Does" who are alleged in the suit to have "caused harm, etc., during the course of their employment."
Mason and Co. principal broker John Mason said on Wednesday that neither he nor his office was "involved in the trash-out" of the Brewers’ property, nor did he remove any articles from the property.
"There is another entity that is neither Fannie Mae nor me," Mason added.
According to the complaint, "a letter and business card from John Mason of Mason Realty addressed to Waburn and Judy Brewer and all other occupants of (the foreclosed home)" was "taped to the door of Mr. Shaver’s shop," and this letter stated that the property was being placed in storage for 30 days.
Mason said on Wednesday that a letter had been left on the door of the residence, not the shop, "giving them 30 days to remove the property that they have left inside the house."
Judy Brewer said that she and her husband have so far been unable to determine where any of their property that may have been spared the alleged burn pile may have been stored.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)